Can stem cells help with orthopedic issues?

Wednesday, 15 April 2020 | Nina Klein

Can stem cells help with orthopedic issues?

All around the world, patients with various diseases are turning to stem cell-based treatments to improve their conditions. People with orthopedic issues are no exception.

In this article, we’ll discuss the different orthopedic conditions and how stem cell therapy can help alleviate their symptoms and tackle their root cause.

What are the most common orthopedic disorders?

Before we jump into stem cell treatments, let’s first focus on orthopedic disorders. What are typical orthopedic issues and what are their symptoms?

  • Arthritis: An inflammation of the joints caused by an infection or injury. The most common types are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Bursitis: Occurs when the bursae, or the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, are inflamed. Bursitis often occurs in the shoulder, elbow and hip.
  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: When the nerves inside your elbow become stretched, compressed, or irritated, it can become numb and affect the function of your fingers.
  • Lateral Epicondylitis: Also called a tennis elbow. It occurs when tendons in the elbow are overworked. Most of the time, the repetitive movements of the wrist and arm are responsible for this.
  • Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer's or Baseball Elbow): The swelling of the inside of the elbow where the tendons in the forearm muscle connect to the bone.
  • Fibromyalgia: Patients suffering from this condition experience musculoskeletal and other pain, memory loss and mood issues.
  • Fractures: A broken bone caused by accidents, falls, or sports injuries. Sometimes, it can also be caused by osteoporosis due to the weakening of bones.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This happens when major nerves to the hand and arm are squeezed or compressed, causing pain, numbness, or tingling.
  • Knee Pain and Problems: The discomfort felt in the knee can be caused by many things, including ligament injury or a torn meniscus.
  • Kyphosis: People afflicted with Kyphosis are known to have roundbacks due to an excessive outward curve of their spine.
  • Osteoporosis: The bones become porous and brittle, which happens when the body loses too much bone density.
  • Paget's Disease of the Bone: Environmental and genetic factors cause cells to be deformed, forcing bones to weaken.
  • Scoliosis: This is characterized by the sideway curvature of the spine, which usually starts before puberty. This condition can be caused by many things, including cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.

What is considered an orthopedic injury?

If an injury is related to the musculoskeletal system (anything related to the bones, muscles, joints) then it is considered an orthopedic injury.

More often than not, these injuries happen because of an accident or trauma that causes injury to the bones or the soft tissue protecting them. At times, they can also be a result of a complication in existing bone-related diseases.

Is arthritis an orthopedic condition?

Yes, arthritis is considered an orthopedic condition because it affects the skeletal system as well as the muscles.

Arthritis is actually a general term for a group of diseases that affect the joints where typically the lining that protects the bones becomes injured or deformed, causing painful bone rubbing.

Do I need surgery for my orthopedic problem?

The answer to this depends on the actual disease and the gravity of the condition.

Surgery is often used as a last resort for musculoskeletal issues when the pain becomes unbearable for patients.

What are the most common orthopedic surgeries?

  • Joint replacement: Damaged joints are replaced with a prosthesis.
  • Osteotomy: A surgery or series of surgeries that aims to fix bone deformities.
  • Arthroscopy: Surgeons use an arthroscope to treat joint problems.
  • Debridement: The removal of soft tissue or bones that are damaged.
  • Soft tissue repair: A minor surgery to fix torn ligaments and tendons.
  • Revision joint surgery: If an implant is changed with a new one.
  • Bone fracture repair: Broken pieces of the bone are fixed and repositioned with metal.
  • Bone fusion: Damaged bones are fused with grafts.

Among these procedures, hip fracture surgery and arthroplasty are considered major orthopedic surgeries.

When should I see a neurologist for back pain?

Because the spine is connected to the skull and the nervous system, having a worrying back pain can also indicate an abnormal brain condition.

So how do you know if you have to see a neurologist for back pain? Here are some signs:

  • Chronic back pain characterized by numbness or weakness
  • Back pain accompanied by lack of coordination
  • Persistent back pain that extends to the neck and severe headaches

Do orthopedic doctors treat back pain?

When you have chronic back pain, it can be caused by various things and this also means that there are different types of doctors that can treat it. For example, a rheumatologist specializes in rheumatoid arthritis.

Now what about orthopedists? Well, generally, they treat conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, including ruptured discs, scoliosis, and other types of neck or back pain.

Do doctors recommend chiropractors?

A chiropractor is a health worker who diagnoses and treats neuromuscular disorders. They treat patients using manual adjustment or alignment of the spine. Their goal is to reduce the pain that is caused by these disorders.

Not all doctors would recommend chiropractic care. However, a 2018 study published in the JAMA Network Open stated that patients who consult a chiropractor for lower back pain subsequently reported a reduction in pain and required less pain medicine.

When should I see an orthopedist for knee pain?

Many people disregard knee pain and minor accidents, assuming their knee will heal eventually, even if they don’t do anything about it.

However, you should see a doctor if your knee pain is accompanied by significant swelling or redness due to injury. If the area is quite tender or warm, this is not a good sign. Lastly, if all these symptoms are accompanied by fever, it's time to see an orthopedist.

It is recommended that a patient consult with a GP (General Practitioner) first to rule out other causes of the knee pain. Then, depending on your health insurance plan, your GP can refer you to a medical facility and a specialist.

How do I prepare for an orthopedic appointment?

To prepare for an orthopedic treatment, make sure that you log the days and frequency with which you felt pain in the area causing you trouble.

If you are also consulting with a physical therapist, you must bring a progress letter. If you had surgery related to your condition, you must also bring a copy of your operation report.

What is orthopedic stem cell treatment?

After someone experiences skeletal muscle injury, complete recovery is challenging because tissues are scarred. Unfortunately, skeletal muscle does not regenerate completely.

This is where Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) can help. When injected into the affected area, they can go through differentiation thus contributing to the healing of skeletal muscles. Fat-derived MSCs have several advantages over bone marrow-derived stem cells, according to a 2017 study on Orthopedic Surgery and MSC.

How much does it cost to get stem cell injections for orthopedic issues?

Different countries have their own standards and regulations on stem cell-based treatments. This, among many other factors, such as the patient’s pre-existing conditions, dictate the price of stem cell injections.

What is the success rate of stem cell therapy for orthopedic patients?

According to a study presented during the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the average success rate of stem cell-based therapies in osteoarthritis patients is 82.2%. This is based on a survey of 65 centers that provide stem cell therapies for OA patients.

How much does stem cell therapy for orthopedic conditions cost?

In the US, the average stem cell injection costs about USD 5,000. But can range from USD 1,200 to USD 12,000.

While you may be tempted to choose the clinic with the lowest price, it is recommended that you do a complete background check on your chosen clinic. The cheapest price may cost more in the long run, should you encounter challenges or hidden costs during your treatment.

For novel treatments like stem cell therapy, but also other cell-based treatments, there are guidelines and rules that ensure product safety and quality. Usually, these additional measures are costly and will increase the price. If you encounter very low prices, you should question if the clinic follows the necessary quality control and product safety measures.

Stem cell clinics in Europe, especially in Germany, are known for the highest standards and most advanced techniques. The ANOVA Institute for Regenerative Medicine is one of the leading stem cell clinics in Europe, providing innovative stem cell-based therapies to patients in Germany and from all around the world.

If you have an orthopedic condition, feel free to contact ANOVA to set up a consultation and find out how stem cell therapy can help you.

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